Mother Nature's at it again...Is it time for a permanent Emergency Standby Power Generator?
In 2011 New Jersey was ravaged by Hurricane Irene and a Nor'easter that brought snow to heavily-leaved trees causing downed power lines that lasted weeks. October 29, 2012, Hurricane Sandy demolished the Jersey shore and wreaked havoc throughout New Jersey. Lives were at a stand-still, as households in nearly every neighborhood suffered without power. Gasoline became scarce, so getting to work was impossible for thousands of people. Are you prepared for the next storm?
Are you proactive or reactive? At times like this, that one word can really matter. There's the age-old cliche remark, 'The shoemakers wife never has shoes'. Well, that remark rings true for many, and personally speaking, I've lived that cliche a few times. I thought perhaps this blog post might be an opportunity to share a personal story from last year with you.
A native-born NJ gal, I remember huge snow drifts in my neighborhood as a child. School would be often cancelled for days. Fast forward, the late 90's and early part of the Y2K years seemed to have brought changing weather. And, boy, does that ring true today more than ever! Our weather patterns are definitely changing, and our electrical infrastructure is underimproved and in need of upgrading.
So, last year, we were chatting around the dinner table with some friends, and spoke of the strange weather patterns New Jersey had been experiencing (and of course elsewhere throughout the country as well.) Customers in our area had been inquiring about the installation of permanent Emergency Standby Power Generators, and we'd begun the installation process of several. "Hmmm....I think we should install one for our home", I remarked. My husband immediately responded by reminding me that we really never experience power outages in our neighborhood. 'Harumph' was all I could think of.
So, yes, I'm a planner...and a worrier, it's my nature. But, I'm not an alarmist, more a realist.
We should have a generator, indeed. Fast forward to August 20th, 2011, and Hurricane Irene introduced herself to New Jersey. It was devastating. Streets flooded, homeowners lost valued posessions and in the most drastic cases, their homes, and of course....power. It's extremely frustating when evening comes and you can't even read...unless you have a backlit iPad or Kindle, that is! No cooking, no TV, sophisticated telephone systems that run on power don't operate, and even the battery backup installed by your cable company or FIOS runs out after 8 hours. Electronic ignition for heating systems won't work, air conditioners are still and quiet, even your gas fireplace needs a spark. We're in the dark...
We were unable to access our office because of the floods, and were forced to operate the back-end of our service business from our home office. While it was inconvenient, we were still functioning, and able to provide service to our northern and north central NJ clients.
But...the calendar pages turned to October and the 'Halloween Nor'Easter' hit our area. Heavy snow burdened the still partly leaf-covered trees throughout the area and downed power lines caused thousands to be without electricity, including, yes, our neighborhood, and specifically our home. My husband didn't say a word, other than "OK, you were right, dear, we'll install a generator ASAP." I smiled, as we picked up our office server and transported it to a nearby location only, 3 towns away, that had been spared power...for the moment Along with us we brought a freezer full of meat and previously cooked containers of soup as we knew we'd be discarding the contents of two refrigerators shortly thereafter. And, for 3 days we were the proverbial fish out of water.
Our electrical power was finally restored a week later, and we returned, computer server in hand, and began the process of emptying and throwing out the entire contents of our kitchen refrigerator and the extra one in the garage, too. And, the very next day, we set the wheels in motion and placed the order for our very own 14 KW whole house Emergency Standby Power Generator. The permit application was delivered to our local building department, and appropriate forms filed with the utlity company and the unit ordered from our local supplier. Once the installation was approved by our local code enforcement department, the wiring process began, soon thereafter, along with the installation of a 'Generator Panel' that would be the new home for the circuits that would be powered by the natural gas generator. The large transfer switch was installed, gas piping, and a permanent location set outside our home for the 4 foot unit that would provide that which we all take for granted, the power we need to run our household.
Every week the generator performs a self-test, powers up, throws the transfer switch just to be sure it's ready when needed. Like a guardian, it stands quietly in our yard awaiting its call to duty. And, has it powered on when needed? Oh, yes, you bet it has. Even for a brief moment, when the electrical infrastructure failed, the 'snap' of the transfer switch beckoned the generator, and the sound of the engine harkened the illumination of our home, televisions, air conditioning (and yes, even your furnace or boiler requires electricity) and other such apparatus.
Today, on October 27th, 2012, New Jersey is bracing for the arrival of Hurricane Sandy. She's predicted to bring along with her the 'storm of the century' and we're prepared...are you?
Contact your local contractor about a permanent Emergency Standby Power Generator for your home today. And while you're being pro-active....think about a contacting your licensed plumber to install a water powered backup sump pump, because when you lose power, and with the underimproved electrical grids our country is suffering with today, you very well may, your sump pump will fail immediately.